Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Elizabeth Bowen and Irish Short Story Month-News About a Read Along

Elizabeth Bowen and Irish Short Story Month

Irish Short Story Month will be from March 1 to March 31-please consider participating-you can e-mail me   should you have any questions or suggestions.

The main purpose of this post is to let all of my readers know that Caroline of Beauty is a Sleeping Cat is hosting in March a read-a-long of Elizabeth Bowen's novel The Heat of the Day.   The novel is set in London during World War II.   Ireland was neutral during the war but Elizabeth Bowen (1899 to 1973-28 Books) was strongly loyal to England.   She spent the war living in London and worked as an air-raid warden, walking the streets getting people into shelters and making sure black out rules were observed.    This put her in harms way as she had to be among the very last to take shelter.  Many air raid warders lost their lives saving others.   Bowen said after the war that she never felt more alive than she did during the Blitz in London. She acknowledged, and did many others, that she felt a sense of liberation by the eminence of death.  Caroline will also be reading Victoria Glendinning's excellent biography of Bowen.   Bowen had a very exciting and varied life, not at all like the one that the pictures of her on the internet might suggest.  She delighted in being the "wild Irish girl" in London but back at home in Bowen's Court (her family was given land by Cromwell) she was very Anglo-Irish, the lady of the manor and most of her Irish contacts were servants.   Caroline's blog is one of the best book blogs and I have been following it for a long time.

One of the most worth buying short story collections I am aware of is The Collected Short Stories of Elizabeth Bowen.  Any of the short stories in here (or a secondary work on her) would be perfect for Irish Short Story Month.   Many consider her World War II short stories her very best work.   Another Mini-project one could do is to post on the short stories by Bowen set in Ireland.  Most of her stories are set in England or have no clear for sure location.  Declan Kiberd in Inventing Ireland:  The Literature of the Modern Nation talks about Bowen's relationship to Ireland and how it changed based on where she was.   Bowen lived life to the full, she loved parties, drank a good bit, entertained lavishly,  smoked, and even though in a long term marriage to a very decent man who loved her, had a number of short and long term affairs which she made little effort to hide.   It is a shame the only pictures one can find of her make her appear to be a sternly prim school mistress who would be appalled at the idea of any non-Victorian behavior.   Kiberd says Bowen has six short stories set in Ireland but he does not list them.  I have been only able to find three of them but I am sure he is right.

The link to sign up for Caroline's Read A Long-part of the year long Literature and War Event, is here.

Any post on an Elizabeth Bowen short story is very welcome for Irish Short Story Month.

Mel u


Caroline said...

Thanks you so much for this and your kind words, Mel.
I'm really looking forward to the event.

Séamus Duggan said...

Hi Mel, I have a book of Elizabeth Bowen's Irish Stories that contains nine stories: Sunday Afternoon; Her Table Spread; The Tommy Crans; A Love Story; Unwelcome Idea; Summer Night; The Happy Autumn Fields; Hand in Glove & A Day in the Dark.
Will try and read a few during march and join in.

Mel u said...

Caroline-thanks so much for your support of the event

Seamus-that would be wonderful